A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms agains himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.
Ambrose Bierce was a writer in the late 1800’s and himself was familiar with failure. He witnessed both of his sons die before him. One was shot in bar brawl, the other died of pneumonia. His marriage fell apart and he ended up in divorce. I wish I can tell you that he had a happy life, but he spent most of it being a critic. He had a nickname called Bitter Bierce. Despite the negative facts in his life, he did encourage several writers along the way.
I share this small story about Ambrose because that is the path that I could have chosen. Without the hope I have in Jesus Christ I could have ended up like Ambrose, bitter. Instead, despite all of my failures and trials I have overcome them with faith. God gives us all a measure of faith that we won’t tap into if we allow fear to take over. Fear is what keeps you anchored to the past and sets you up for failure. As Ambrose said in the quote above; fear can make you think you are going to fail. True failure is not having tried at all. What’s really cool is we can have failure after failure and still be able to finally succeed, because sometimes setbacks can be God saying, “not yet.”
We talked about the negative aspects of failure, now lets look at the positive aspects. First, you learn something about yourself. You learn what not to do, and to change what caused the failure to begin with. I spent a lot of time in my life fruitlessly trying to lose weight and get thin. It had always been a dream of mine, so I have tried many ways to lose weight. The thing I finally realized when I was close to deaths door; the constant I always had in everyone of these failures was I tried to do it alone. What’s interesting is I had the support around me, I just never used it. When I relinquished control and allowed God to do His best work in me, success was not far away.
Not only does failure build your character, but it also directs your path. I now consider failure a closed door for right now, or a new direction. God can give us a God-given dream or vision, but sometimes His timing is not our timing. God may need you to go through a season of character building, or show you a better path than the one you thought was correct.
The most appealing aspect of failure is when you overcome it. When you put excuses aside, drive the fear from you and step out in faith. I overcame the fear of “once you become forty you can not lose any weight.” 242 pounds later that fear was pushed aside. Most of what we fear never comes true. Ambrose knew he was headed in the wrong direction. He allowed his failures to consume him to the point of bitterness. So, don’t fear change or failure for that matter. Take one small step in faith and allow God to do His best work in you, you will not be sorry.